Born: 1907 - Kiel, Germany
Died: July 30, 1990 - Westport, Connecticut, USA
The German-born conductor and violinist, Klaus Liepmann, began studying the violin at 6. After attending grammar school in Kiel until 1919, he went to Hamburg, where for the next six years he attended high school, received private instruction in violin, viola, and piano; and studied ensemble playing at the Hamburg Conservatory of Music. He continued his studies for five more years at the Academy of Music in Cologne, then in 1931 he became concertmaster of the Berlin University Orchestra and Director of Hamburg University concerts. Being a Jew deprived by the Nazi authorities from performing, he left Germany in 1933.
After coming to the USA in 1933 Klaus Liepmann took several positions in the New York City school system. He came to Yale University in 1936 for further study and research, and from 1939 to 1944 he directed the Yale Symphony Orchestra and conducted ensembles. During the latter part of the war he was Music Advisor of the Army's First Service Command, in which capacity he supervised music education and recreation in all Army camps and hospitals in New England.
Klaus Liepmann became Massachusetts Institute of Technology's first full-time professor of music in 1947 and, during the next 25 years, built a thriving music program at the university. He was considered the "Father of Music" at MIT. He was the first to bring music to the humanities department there and became the first full-time director of music and conductor of the MIT Choral Society and MIT Symphony Orchestra. In addition to starting the first band at MIT, he also hired other key professors who contributed in their own ways to music at MIT, including John Corluy and John Oliver. Liepmann also help establish what is today known as the Lewis Library for Music at MIT. Before his time, students only had a lounge where they could listen to music. Liepmann retired in 1972 and programmed J.S. Bach's St. John Passion (BWV 245) as a final farewell to his beloved MIT musicians
Klaus Liepmann also performed as a solo violinist and appeared as guest conductor of orchestras in London, Paris, Hamburg and Munich, and the Boston Symphony Chamber Orchestra, Boston Pops Orchestra and Berlin Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra.
Klaus Liepmann is the author of "The Language of Music" (1953). He also wrote an autobiography "Fifty Years in America," as well as a biography of his father, Moritz Liepmann. He died of an abdominal aneurysm at his home in Westport. He was 83.